Android - choosing min android os version

Looking at statistics in the play developer console, I’m seeing the vast majority of users seem to be on android 4.0.2 or higher (99%). I have always been building for gingerbread and higher in unity build settings.

I wonder if building only for 4.0 and higher wouldn’t make my APK have a smaller filesize or perhaps effect performance positively somehow by no longer supporting the older android versions, but at the same time if it makes almost no difference whatsoever, I shouldn’t needlessly stop supporting the older gingerbread devices, right?

Anybody know for certain what kind of effect on apk size (download size for end user) and 4.0+ performance after dropping the old versions might have? Does it make any difference at all?

As far as I know it doesn’t effect much with respect to the apk size and performance. There is a little file size increase caused because of the use of appcompat library but it is around 2-3 MB which can also be reduced with method specified here.

One way to think about it is that, it is not just about the OS version, but you also have to consider the hardware running these versions. In case of older versions the devices running them are low on hardware (mostly because I don’t think a person with high config device like quad core and 3 gigs of RAM is going to use Gingerbread) so are not capable of high performance. This means you have to also optimize your game for these low hardware devices. Now the higher version devices have at least certain level of hardware capabilities as laid down by the Android OS version requirements so you can be sure about them.

So when you choose to support older versions you have to consider that will users running these versions be able to run your game.